Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)


Commenting on Peter O. Steiner's "The Legalization of American Society: Economic Regulation"

Professor Cramton opened with praise for Professor Steiner's integration of various theories into a new and effective statement of those characteristics endemic to economic regulation which tend to make its results suboptimal. While Cramton saw Steiner's typology of the three types of regulation as helpful in focusing attention on the purposes of regulation, he cautioned that "the typology should be viewed as involving dominant characteristics or ideal types rather than a description of historical purity." The three types of regulation are often intermixed , Cramton reminded his audience, in the constant historical growth of regulation.

Cramton followed this cautionary corrective with a more direct challenge to Steiner's hypotheses about what causes change in regulation . Steiner's remarks "underemphasize the responsiveness of our political institutions to self-interest, crisis, and catastrophe," said Cramton, who proposed to discuss the dynamics of political change that can disrupt stable regulatory regimes.